Thursday, 13 June 2019

Recent Recoveries

The first recovery round-up in a while - this covers the first 5 months of this year!

A Mute Swan, ringed at Markeaton in Derby in August 2010 was seen at Attenborough in April this year. Another bird, ringed in 2007 at Rushcliffe Country Park, was also seen at Attenborough on the 6 January.

Also at Attenborough, a couple of Egyptian Goose recoveries. The first had its ring read in February, having originally been ringed on site in 2009. The other was unfortunately found dead in May, and was ringed on the reserve in 2015.

An Attenborough Common Tern chick, ringed at the nest in 2014, was caught in September last year at Marismas del Odiel in Huelva, Spain.

The Attenborough Sand Martin Colony continues to produce recoveries and controls. A bird ringed as a chick in June 2016 was controlled at Redhill Marina in June this year. Another bird, mist-netted at the colony as a juvenile in July last year, was controlled by ringers in France at Marais-des-Moisin in September of the same year. A bird ringed as a chick in Rutland last June, was also netted at Attenborough in May this year.

Bestwood Tree Sparrows remain a staple of the recovery round-up, showing that they are relatively mobile between colonies in the region. However some local recoveries are also received. A Birklands-ringed bird, caught at Bestwood Country Park in September 2018, was controlled at Mick's Bestwood site in April This year. Birds from further afield that have been controlled here recently have come from Retford Sewage works, Overend (Derbyshire) and Cropwell Bishop.

A ring found in January at Holme Pierrepont by metal detectorists, had originally been placed on a Blackbird there, over 12 years previously, in September 2006. Another Blackbird met its fate in the claws of a cat in April this year in Ilkeston. The bird had been ringed in Alex's Garden the previous Spring.

A Starling, ringed in the Meadows in 2016, was found dead in Clifton in April, whilst another ringed at the same site in 2018 was taken by a Sparrowhawk in Calverton in March.

A Reed Warbler, caught in August last year at Holme Pierrepont, had originally been ringed at a site near Coimbra, Portugal in September 2011.

A Chiffchaff, ringed in the Autumn of 2017 at Stanford Res in Northants, has been controlled by the group at Ramsdale Golf Club in May.

A Long-tailed Tit, ringed at Manor Floods, Ilkeston in October, was found dead in the town, killed by a cat in April.

A Greenfinch, ringed in Sibthorpe in March 2018, was found dead in Potterhanworth near Lincoln in February.

And finally, a Sutton Bonington Yellowhammer, ringed in March 2016 was found dead nearby in May this year.


Monday, 10 June 2019

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 9 June

The first visit of the year was made to the Blotts end of Holme Pierrepont on Sunday by Duncan, Mick T, Gary, Sue, Sarah, Helen, Holly and me. We managed to get a brief window in the poor weather and set up the site ready for next weekend's ringing demo. A calm and sunny start to the morning later gave way to a gentle breeze and some cloud. We finished with a respectable catch of 100 including 13 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 4/1, Song Thrush 2/1, Wren 1/2, Dunnock 7/2, Robin 6/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Blackcap 21/0, Garden Warbler 3/0, Whitethroat 5/1, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Chiffchaff 7/0, Willow Warbler 2/3, Reed Warbler 2/0, Sedge Warbler 2/0, Blue Tit 4/1, Great Tit 9/1, Long-tailed Tit 7/0, Greenfinch 3/0, Chaffinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were a Dunnock and Wren from 2016.


A first summer Lesser Whitethroat showing contrast in the tail between original and replaced feathers (K. Hemsley)

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Attenborough CES visit 4, Sunday 2 June

CES visit 4 at Attenborough was carried out today in mainly calm and overcast conditions but a rain shower at 1030 made us close a couple of nets for 20 minutes. The rain then came back stronger as we were about to take down at 1200. A bumper-sized team of 10 this week consisted of Gary, Duncan, Alex, Sarah, Sophie, Alice, Holly, Helen, Richard and myself. Despite what were predominantly good mist-netting conditions the catch was smaller than I thought it would be but we did have the first juvenile warblers of the year, a couple of Blackcaps.

The total catch was 35 birds including 15 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 0/1, Song Thrush 0/1, Robin 3/1, Wren 1/0, Dunnock 3/7, Chiffchaff 0/1, Blackcap 5/3, Reed Warbler 1/0, Goldcrest 2/0, Treecreeper 1/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 2/0, Bullfinch 1/1. The oldest retrap was a Dunnock from 2012. A Cuckoo was heard calling again.


Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Nest box monitoring - Sunday 19 May

Nest boxes at Brackenhurst & beyond proved very productive on Sunday. At one point, Vicki and I found seven different species in seven boxes around Brackenhurst – Tawny, Barn and Little Owls, Kestrel, Stock Dove, Blue Tit and Nuthatch. The Nuthatch pulli (see pic) were the first ringed by the group since 1997! They were in a bat box, which took some working out to safely access the chicks. Elsewhere, at NWT’s Duke's Wood we ringed our last Tawny Owl chicks, the female (see pic) was ringed as an adult in the same box in 2006, and was also caught breeding in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Current Group members – Gary & Pete – have met her. Nearby, at Kirklington we also caught another female Tawny for the seventh year running. Duke's Wood and adjacent woodlands have good shrub and plant layers, and this is likely to be providing plenty of prey - small mammals and birds - for the Tawnies.


 Nuthatch pulli (JL)
 The O.A.T.! (JL)

Monday, 27 May 2019

Attenborough CES visit 3, Saturday 25 May

We carried out CES visit 3 at Attenborough today in decent weather, a light breeze and sunny conditions. The team consisted of Gary, Mick T, Sarah, Sophie and myself. We were also joined by Holly on a first taster session and Richard who is an A permit holder who has recently moved to Derby and is looking to join a ringing group.

We had a catch of 37 birds including 14 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 3/2, Song Thrush 1/1, Robin 5/1, Wren 5/1, Dunnock 2/1, Chiffchaff 0/3, Blackcap 4/1, Reed Warbler 2/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Blue Tit 0/1, Long-tailed Tit 0/2, Bullfinch 1/0.

The oldest retrap was a Blackbird from 2016. All the new Robins and Dunnocks were juveniles as this year's youngsters are now well into fledging. A Cuckoo was also heard calling again.


Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Sunday 19 May

With a gap in the CES schedule this weekend and a triathlon closing roads around Holme Pierrepont, we held the first ringing session of the year at Ramsdale this morning. The weather was good with no wind and variable cloud cover. The team consisted of Alice, Gary, Duncan and myself. A little bit of ride clearance was required to put up the seven 18m nets in the positions higher up the hill that we started using towards the end of last season.

The catch rate was steady throughout the morning and we ended with a total of 42 including 8 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 1/2, Dunnock 3/0, Wren 1/0, Robin 1/1, Blackcap 6/2, Garden Warbler 2/0, Whitethroat 1/0, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Chiffchaff 2/2, Willow Warbler 3/0, Blue Tit 4/0, Great Tit 4/1, Linnet 4/0, Chaffinch 1/0.

The oldest retrap was a Blackbird and Blackcap both from 2015. Numbers of resident species were higher than on the first visit made last year no doubt because of the milder winter. Nice to get a few Linnets at the only site we regularly catch them. We also had a control Chiffchaff.


Male & female Linnets (K. Hemsley)

Tuesday, 14 May 2019


Last winter, Kev and I followed up on a lead from Alex and investigated the possibility of ringing at Erewash Meadows Nature Reserve.

Erewash Meadows forms part of the largest area of floodplain grasslands and wetlands in the Erewash Valley. It straddles the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire county boundary and is jointly owned by the two county Wildlife Trusts. The reserve is in three parts. The southern part is known as Aldercar Flash and Meadows and the central part is Brinsley Meadows. Leading off from the north west corner of Brinsley Meadows is a 3/4 mile section of the old Cromford Canal. During our site visit with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Erewash Valley Regional Manager, she mentioned that Brinsley Meadows held good numbers of breeding Lapwing.

On 3 May I carried out a recce of Brinsley Meadows and counted 10 Lapwing chicks and 5 adults sitting on nests, so today Kev, Gary, Duncan, Sarah and I made a visit. We had a productive morning ringing 12 Lapwing chicks and finding a nest with 4 eggs.

Hopefully it's something we can repeat next year.

Mick P

Monday, 13 May 2019

Recent ringing

Updates to activities in the southwest of our area have been lacking since we finished winter operations at Sutton Bonington, so here is a catch-up.

We had a few sessions and a ride clearance visit to the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont in March and April. Of the birds caught the most interesting were a Reed Bunting and Long-tailed Tit from 2013; surprisingly the latter had not been caught at all since the original capture. We also had the first returning warbler recaptures that were ringed in previous years: Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler. A Cuckoo calling in the distance on the last visit was the first we had heard this year.

We also had a pre-CES visit to Attenborough on 14 April to clear the rides ready for the start of the CES proper and we set the nets after clearing. The team consisted of Alice, Alex, Duncan, Gary, Helen, Mick T, Sarah, Sophie and myself. This resulted in a catch of 43 birds including 6 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/2, Song Thrush 1/0, Wren 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Chiffchaff 4/0, Willow Warbler 1/0, Blackcap 5/1, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Blue Tit 10/1, Great Tit 5/2, Long-tailed Tit 4/0, Bullfinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retraps were a Blackbird and Blackcap from 2017.

This took us up to May and the start of the CES season at Attenborough. The first visit was made on Monday 6th May in fairly calm and mainly overcast conditions. The team consisted of Duncan, Gary, Iona, Mick T, Sue, Sophie and myself, it was good to see Sue well enough to come out again. We had a catch of 42 birds including 9 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/0, Song Thrush 0/1, Robin 1/0, Wren 5/0, Dunnock 1/1, Chiffchaff 7/1, Blackcap 3/1, Coal Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 3/1, Long-tailed Tit 6/1, Treecreeper 0/1, Bullfinch 1/2. The oldest retraps were a Bullfinch and Treecreeper from 2016. The Coal Tit is only the second caught at the site, the first being in 2011. A Grasshopper Warbler sang all morning very close to the nets but managed to evade them! This is a very unusual species on this part of the reserve.

The second CES visit was made on Sunday 12 May in very calm and very sunny conditions. The team consisted of Alex, Duncan, Gary, Mick T, Sue, Sarah and myself. We had a catch of 38 birds including 11 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 0/1, Robin 4/2, Wren 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Chiffchaff 1/1, Garden Warbler 1/0, Blackcap 9/1, Reed Warbler 1/1, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Blue Tit 3/2, Great Tit 3/2, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Nuthatch 1/0, Bullfinch 1/0. The oldest retrap was a Robin from 2014 that had not been caught since it was originally ringed. The Nuthatch was a nice surprise and is only the second caught at the site. A Tawny Owl called part way through the morning (they did not use the nestboxes this year) and a Cuckoo was also heard.


 Coal Tit (Sue Lakeman)

 Nuthatch (Kev Hemsley)

Friday, 3 May 2019

One for Joy

A combination of poor weather, new job and two year old twins has meant that I have not been out ringing with group as often as I would have liked this year. So my garden has been the focus of my ringing and a warm spring has helped. In the last few days a pair of Magpies have been visiting my garden and hoovering up the dried mealworms I put out for the Starlings.

Magpies are not everyone's cup of tea, but I have a soft spot for corvids. I love how intelligent they are, and despite the Potter traps being baited they had avoided them – until yesterday. Despite being a relatively common bird, it is one that we rarely catch due to their cautious nature. This 6 (adult) male was only the second I have ever ringed and the first for the group since 2017, and as a bonus I neither got bitten nor clawed!


Monday, 15 April 2019

2018 Report

The 2018 ringing report is now available. If you would like a copy, please email the address at the top of the 'Reports' page - see tab at the top.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Photogenic Heron

Ringed at Attenborough NR as a chick on 23 April 2015, Grey Heron 'JH' (ring 1509503) has now been posing for Keith Walkling's camera trap at Weldon near Corby since 2017. The most recent picture below was on 3 April this year. Thanks for the photo and the sightings Keith!


Sunday, 31 March 2019

Sutton Bonington, January-March 2019

I think disappointing would best sum up the last three months at Sutton Bonington. Lots of effort, lots of seed used, but few birds caught. We could blame part of it on the weather, far too mild, often breezy and sometimes wet but the main concern was the enormous amount of seed used with few small birds coming in to the feeders when we were there. We have put this down to squirrels and/or corvids rifling through the seed at the feeders, scattering most on to the floor and this being ‘hoovered’ up by the many pheasant, partridge, duck, pigeons and even more corvids. We have a plan to combat this next winter but with little to show from the last couple of visits we closed the site down on 24 March. The teams during this period comprised Gary, Mick T, Duncan, Alex, Tom, Alice, Ellen, Iona, Sarah, Sophie, me and a visit by Nabegh on 20 January.

We did have a few good birds sighted on our visits including Red Kites a couple of times including one that landed in the field only a few metres from where we were sitting.

The meagre totals were 198 including 89 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 2/0, Woodpigeon 1/0, Carrion Crow 1/0, Jackdaw 1/0, Redwing 1/0, Blackbird 7/3, Robin 8/8, Meadow Pipit 1/0, Dunnock 4/3, Coal Tit 0/2, Blue Tit 11/31, Great Tit 4/6, Long-tailed Tit 7/6, Chaffinch 14/6, Greenfinch 9/1, Linnet 1/0, Lesser Redpoll 3/0, House Sparrow 1/0, Reed Bunting 16/9, Yellowhammer 17/16. The oldest retraps were from 2016.


Brackenhurst, Saturday 30 March

What with the time of year, calm weather and cold nights, my hopes were high for handling a decent number of Yellowhammers, and so it proved! It was a steady stream of birds and we processed 86 individuals of six species, including 70 Yellowhammers!

Our team of Cliff, Issie and myself set nets at the feeders and in Orwin's. The oldest Yellowhammers were from 2016 (3) and 2015 (1). As previously these older birds turn up later in the day and in early spring when presumably they’re on or near their breeding territories.

Birds of note away from the nets were 20+ Fieldfare and a Blackcap singing in his usual spot in the blackthorn blossom.

Species totals were (new/retrap) 50/36, total 86: Chiffchaff 3/1, Goldcrest 1/1, Great Tit 2/4, Dunnock 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/2, Yellowhammer 43/27.

Below, see photo of Yellowhammer & Chiffchaff for size comparison!


Yellowhammer & Chiffchaff (Issie Connell)

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Pellet recovery

Whilst ringing at Bestwood the other day a photographer gave me a ring he had recovered from a pellet he had found on site. There were several pellets beneath the fence post, they were quite large, didn't appear too old and there was lots of white streaking down the post, which led him to think that it was the work of a Barn Owl.

Reporting the ring via DemOn revealed that the ring was from a Blackbird, ringed at Bestwood Country Park, 6km away on 11 November 2017.

The photographer did return that evening to see if the predator returned to that post but nothing appeared whilst he was there. I guess we will both check out that post from time to time now.

Mick P

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Brackenhurst, Sunday 24 March

Finally, a calm day for mist-netting at the Brackenhurst feeders. Our team comprised visiting ringers Andy & Liz Scott, Vicki, Lewis and me. A bright morning which went from frosty to sunny, and calm to breezy. The latter in the north-west which affected the nets and we finished before midday. Birds of note away from the nets were Chiffchaff and Fieldfare.

Species totals were (new/retrap) 28/11, total 39: Goldcrest 0/1, Great Tit 2/2, Robin 3/1, Dunnock 1/0, Treecreeper 2/1, Reed Bunting 2/0, Yellowhammer 18/6. Retraps were all from last two years.

In other news, we handled our 2000th Yellowhammer since we started ringing here in 2008. This valuable long-term dataset is used annually by students in their statistics module. One result from their analyses is that older Yellowhammers are more likely to be found at the feeding station later in the morning; perhaps because they’re more experienced and know where their local McDonalds is?

Below is a fine example of fault bars in a Yellowhammers tail. It will have experienced food/temperature stress in the nest, and this is a sure indication its one of last year's juveniles.